November 13, 2012

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The Cold-Hearted Orb That Rules the Night

LRO image (NASA/ASU) from Mark Robinson at LEAG

For 43 years the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference has been the preeminent meeting about the solar system. In the last few years a few other conferences with similar names have appeared, and although much smaller are still interesting. An example is the Annual Meeting of the Lunar Exploration Analysis Group held last month at Goddard Space Flight Center. LEAG supports NASA in planning both the science and exploration of the Moon. A number of the recent presentations are now online, including one by Mark Robinson and the LRO camera team that includes this dramatic image. This shows impact melts on the southeast flank of Tycho. Impact-melted rocks were thrown into space and splashed back, collecting in low spots both inside and outside Tycho's rim crest. Melt at top right flowed downhill creating the large elongated upper pond. It overflowed a low spot on the left and cascaded downslope - what a fiery sight that must have been 100 million years ago - reaching flat ground where it spread out with massive pressure ridges and rather large flow fronts, presumably reflecting its viscousness. Look at all the slides in Mark's presentation for closeups of this amazing feature, and especially see the last slide with its repudiation of this LPOD's title.

Chuck Wood

Related Links
Rükl plate 64

Yesterday's LPOD: Coming Out of the Nebula

Tomorrow's LPOD: A Long Cool One


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